Excellence on Main Award

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Downtown Planter Partnership

Awardee: Ellensburg Downtown Association & Elmview

Award: Community Partnership

Year: 2019

City: Ellensburg

The plants in downtown Ellensburg were dying. The 65 planter boxes, planted annually and maintained by the Ellensburg Downtown Association and the City of Ellensburg, weren’t looking so hot… or rather, were looking overly hot, amidst 100-degree summer days in Central Washington. The City was no longer able to water the planters at the frequency needed due to staffing and budget limitations. And the community was taking notice.

Realizing an additional partner would be the only solution to the issue, the EDA’s Design Committee approached Elmview, a local non-profit that connects adults with disabilities to job opportunities. With interest, mission alignment, and both parties at the table to work out the details, the EDA and Elmview determined the type of equipment and the watering schedule necessary to adequately maintain the planters.

With support from the City, a watering truck was purchased, and the EDA was able to enter into a contract with Elmview that created paid positions for the daily watering shifts. Elmview’s involvement made an immediate impact downtown, with the planters well cared for and vibrant throughout the season. The partnership between the City, the EDA, and Elmview is slated to continue in 2019 and beyond due to the success of the program for all parties.

While the healthy planters are the obvious outcome, the impact of this partnership runs much deeper. Not only did the partnership allow the City and the EDA to solve a recurring problem, but it also allowed Elmview to create more meaningful, community-centered jobs for their clients. This is the power of Main Street partnerships – coming together over complimentary goals and finding that quality of life is something that grows exponentially when nurtured.